#8 History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

30183198This debut book of fiction by writer Emily Fridlund is a stunner.

It’s a classic coming-of-age story. High school student Linda doesn’t fit it. Like so many high school kids who feel like they’re the wrong age at the wrong time in the wrong place, she lives the life of an outsider. Her peers keep their distance at school, and she lives a long way from anything with her odd parents. When a family with a young boy, Paul, moves in across the lake, Linda starts to babysit, forging a relationship with the boy and his parents. From page one we know that something devastating has happened to Paul, a knowledge which drives this elegant, sad, austere story to the end.

I really love Fridlund’s writing, there were so many sentences and passages in History of Wolves that made me go “wow.” Some coming-of-age books feel like replicas of stories we’ve all read/heard before, but this one stands out. From the beginning, Fridlund constructs a narrative built on dramatic tension, with the reader constantly questioning “what the fuck happened to that kid?!” The snowy backwoods setting evokes isolation and loneliness, and the characters are unique, complex, totally flawed.

I can’t wait to read what Fridlund comes out with next.

2 thoughts on “#8 History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund”

  1. Okay just finished this. I feel like this book has a lot of correlations with “The Girls” by Emma Cline. The whole younger girl smitten, entranced with an older young women, the amoral quality of the young girl, and other aspects. But most of all I think I was irritated and annoyed with her and in both cases, annoyed with this portrayal of young girls as amoral, disinterested, with no empathy, and no real sense of right and wrong? Or responsibility. This just doesn’t resonate with me and makes me grumpy.


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